Born in Nevinnomyssk, Valery Melnikov studied journalism in Stavropol, Russia. His photographic career began when he started to work for The North Caucasus newspaper. For ten years he was a staff photographer for Kommersant publishing house and since 2009 for international news agency Rossiya Segodnya.

He has dedicated himself to documenting the political and social life of societies in conflict. Valery’s professional biography includes coverage of Chechen war, conflict between Georgia and South Ossetia, Lebanese war in 2006, uprising of Mali Republic, Syrian civil war. In 2014, Valery began documenting war in Eastern Ukraine. This work continues in his current ongoing project, Black days of Ukraine, about ordinary civil people who became the participants of the military confrontation against their will.

Valery has received many awards for his work, including World Press Photo, Magnum Photography Awards, Pictures of the Year International, Sony World Photography awards, LensCulture Visual Storytelling Awards. His work has been exhibited in France, Austria, Italy, USA, Germany, UK, Russia and other countries.

Valery currently lives in Moscow.


2016 — Exhibition of the Bourse de Talent winners, National Library of France, Paris
2016 — Personal exhibition, FOTOFORUM Gallery, Innsbruck, Austria
2015 — Exhibition of the ANI-PIXPALACE AWARD winners, Paris, France
2015 — Group exhibition “Urban Maze”, Kunstwerk Nippes Gallery, Cologne, German
2014 — Group exhibition “Crisis in Ukraine”, Coningsby Gallery, London, UK
2014 — Personal exhibition “Standby”in the international photo festival “Photoparade”, Uglich, Russia
2013 — Group exhibition of Kandinsky Prize nominees, Moscow, Russia


2018 — World Press Photo, Netherlands, 2nd Prize

2017 — World Press Photo, Netherlands, 1st Prize

2017 —The Prix de la Photographie PX3, France, 1st Prize
2017 — Life Framer Photography Award, USA, 1st Prize
2017 — Circle of Life contest, International Photo festival “Vilnius Photo Circle”, Lithuania, Finalist
2017 — Lense Culture, Exposure Awards, USA, Finalist
2016 — Bourse Du Talent, France, Winner
2016 — Magnum Photography Awards, USA, Winner
2016 — Prix International des Nouvelles Ecritures, France, Winner
2016 — Fine Art Photography Awards, USA, 2nd Prize in Photojournalism category
2016 — Circle of Life contest , International Photo festival “Vilnius Photo Circle”, Lithuania, Winner
2016 — Pictures of the Year International (POYI), USA, Award of Excellence in Portrait series and Award of Excellence in Multimedia news story
2016 — Bayeux-Calvados Award for War Correspondents, Finalist
2015 — LensCulture Visual Storytelling Awards, USA, 1st Prize
2015 — Kontinent photography Awards, Turkey, Honorable mentions
2015 — Direct Look photo contest, FOTODOC Center for Documentary Photography, Russia, 2nd Prize
2015 — Leica Oscar Barnack Award, Germany, Finalist
2015 — Sony World Photography Awards, UK, 2nd Prize in the current affairs category
2015 — Kolga Award, Kolga Tblisi Photo, Georgia, 1st Prize in the reportage category
2015 — DAYS Japan International Photojournalism Awards, Japan, 2nd Prize
2015 — China International Press photo contest (CHIPP), 1st Prize in the War & Disaster News Singles and 1st Prize in the War & Disaster News Stories
2014 — Professional Photographer of the Year Contest, UK, 1st Prize in the News category
2014 — China International Press photo contest (CHIPP), 1st Prize in the Portraits category and 2nd Prize in the People in the News category
2014 — Silver Camera contest, Russia, Winner in “Faces” nomination
2013 — Kandinsky Prize in the field of contemporary art, Russia, Nominee
2013 — Sebastopol International photo festival, Ukraine, 1st Prize
2013 — China International Press photo contest (CHIPP), 3d Prize in the War & Disaster News Stories
2013 — International photo festival “Photoparade in Uglich", Russia, 1st & 2nd Prize
2013 — Circle of Life contest , International Photo festival “Vilnius Photo Circle”, Lithuania, Finalist
2012 — Efremov photojournalism contest, Russia, 1st Prize
2012 — Black and White Spider Awards, USA, Nominee
2010 — Knokke-Heist photo festival, Belgium, The Silver Award